From 2008 to the end of last year the number of cruise ship passengers in Palma more than doubled. In 2008 there were 794,580; in 2018 there were 1,620,810. The increase in numbers has been particularly marked since 2014, when there were 1,032,578.
The president of the Balearic Ports Authority (APB), Joan Gual, says that there has a been progressive increase in demand and a lengthening of the season to all year. A further reason is because operators have opted for Palma as a base port for the start and finish of cruises. It is suggested that Palma is now the main base in the Mediterranean, with the APB having applied a series of incentives for the low season, such as a 40% cut in port taxes.
An APB commitment to Palma as a home base throughout the year will have, in its words, a "positive impact" on tackling seasonality.
In seeking to avoid saturation in the summer, the APB has also been using incentives so that ships arrive after midday. This prevents ships all docking at roughly the same time and creating overcrowding by passengers in the old centre of the city. In addition, a new app that will be fully available from Easter is designed to limit saturation through advice to visitors.
Investment in the port's infrastructure has also helped in attracting ever larger ships. An example is the new maritime station, number six, for the exclusive use of the largest ships. With cruise operators placing increased emphasis on size, such as with the 360-metre Symphony of the Seas, the number of stopovers has not gone up to the same degree as the rise in the number of passengers.
The economic impact of cruise tourism in Palma is put at 256 million euros, with some 5,700 jobs.